Probably the most widely-read magazine you’ve never heard of

Last week I went to the British Library’s Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy exhibition and, amid talk of King John, Edward Coke and the banning of fish weirs on the River Medway, I had a chat with a chap whose travel magazine (called TRVL) has been going for around four years and has something approaching 2 million subscriptions. 2 million! – how many have your digital editions had in that time? The galling thing for a marketer is that most of these have been generated through word of mouth.

It doesn’t follow all of the ‘rules‘ that I think should apply to a digital magazine, but it was purpose-built for the iPad, not reverse-engineered from some print title. And because it was conceived in that way it doesn’t have any of the messy compromises that magazine apps have – it doesn’t feel the need for every issue to appeal to every reader; it can focus on long-form content, its content is not time-sensitive.

What it doesn’t have yet is a significant income stream, nor much of a website to speak of – there are premium subs and some advertising (although they face that classic problem of being read internationally, but with advertisers who book ads nationally) – and I don’t know what the level of engagement is, but it shows that there are people out there doing things in a way that traditional print companies are not, and achieving the sort of reach that digital editions of print magazines are not getting close to.

How thrilled are you with the sales of your PDF page-turner now?


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